Museum selling off artefacts
What lies behind a set of bright blue doors at the back of an aging Central Otago town hall might surprise some people.
A single light, hung from rafters beneath the stage above, shines a dull light on an array of garden tools, wheelie bins, an old leather chair, pipes and empty drums.
Squint further, and at the back of the dark and dusty basement space of Cromwell’s Memorial Hall, there are two wooden trunks, an antique wooden cupboard and wardrobe, a broken violin and violin case, an old washing machine and grinding machine. A mounted stag’s head stares up at the ceiling, and its antlers half obscure a large frame which appears to be a roll of honour.
These dust-covered relics are part of the Cromwell Museum’s collection - some of which will be sold off because of a lack of storage, poor condition and duplicity.
Museum director Edith McKay said the de-accessioning of some items was not a decision made lightly and there was a stringent process required before it could be done.
‘‘Unfortunately, even museums have to spring clean and as Cromwell Museum has not had one for many years, the time has now come for this to happen. The decision to do this has not been arrived at without a lot of thought and consultation and training.’’
Te Papa and Museums of Aotearoa required museums to follow strict guidelines and protocols, she said.
‘‘Any object that is not required, passes through many processes before we can even think about de-accessioning these items. This includes tracing and contacting any known donors or donor’s descendants. Once the processes and protocols have been executed the list is reviewed by the Cromwell Community Board and passed onto the Central Otago District Council’s chief executive for final approval.’’
A number of items in the collection had been given anony- mously and because of the condition and duplicity of some pieces, they needed to be removed from the collection, she said.
The items would be displayed from October 15-29 beside the museum.
Meanwhile, the museum was updating records and correctly cataloguing its collection to go into an online programme and packaged for storage, she said.